The garden in December is anything but quiet – here you can find out what gardening work is still pending in December and what is even blooming in December.
The garden in December also needs maintenance [Photo: Svetlana Gorbacheva / Shutterstock.com]
The end of the year is slowly approaching and it's getting colder. Nevertheless, gardening does not need to rest in December: On the contrary, because not only the planning of the new garden year is pending, but also some plants require your attention in December. You can find out which seasonal vegetables can still be harvested in December and which plants are still starting to bloom in our gardening tips for December.
The vegetable garden in December
Table of Contents
December is one of the quietest months for the kitchen garden, because only a few types of vegetables are sown or harvested. The kitchen garden cannot completely do without maintenance in December, because it is not only the right month to prepare for the new garden year, but can also be used excellently for the care of your kitchen garden.
What can you sow in December?
December is the darkest of all months and therefore not ideal for sowing new plants. If the weather is frost-free, the chervil can be sown in the bed between the end of November and the beginning of December in order to be ready for harvest the following year. After that, only hard-boiled species such as winter purslane ( Claytonia perfoliata ), garden cress ( Lepidium sativum ) and lamb's lettuce ( Valerianella locusta ) can be sown in the greenhouse in December and grow there slowly until they can be harvested in frost-free weather in February. Wild garlic ( Allium ursinum ) can also be planted as a cold germ in the greenhouse in winter and even benefits from the low temperatures.
In contrast, December is ideal for growing microgreens on the windowsill: cress, parsley ( Petroselinum crispum ) and many other types of vegetables can be easily sown and cultivated on the windowsill in December. Due to the high protein, trace element and vitamin content, the young seedlings are very well suited to keep our health strong in winter. In addition to microgreens, sprouts can also be grown well in a sprout jar in December.
Outdoor sowing: chervil
Sow in the greenhouse: wild garlic, lamb's lettuce, garden cress, winter purslane, hardy spinach varieties
Sowing on the windowsill: sprouts, microgreens
Parsnips, turnips and cabbage are seasonal vegetables in December [Photo: Diana Vucane / Shutterstock.com]
What can you plant in December
In December, the vegetable patch looks bad with new plantings: Only particularly hardy garlic varieties ( Allium sativum ) can still be planted outdoors in December. At a depth of 2 to 3 cm and at a distance of 10 to 15 cm, the garlic can easily survive the winter and be harvested the following summer. When planting, be sure to choose a frost-free day.
Plants in the open: garlic
Seasonal vegetables in December
Especially in the cold season, people long for fresh home-grown vegetables. Fortunately, you don't have to do without the extra portion of vitamins and nutrients in December, because there are numerous types of vegetables that can still be harvested fresh now.
The seasonal vegetables in December include types of cabbage such as kale ( Brassica oleracea var . Sabellica ) and savoy cabbage ( Brassica oleracea convar. Capitata var . Sabauda ), but also beets such as turnip ( Brassica napobrassica ) and butter beet. Mushrooms ( Agaricus ) and hardy leeks ( Allium porrum ) provide fresh green in the kitchen in December. If you have a greenhouse, you can also look forward to a rich harvest of spinach (Spinacia oleracea ) and celery tubers ( Apium graveolens var. Rapaceum). Even salad lovers will get their money's worth in December: lamb's lettuce and chicory ( Cichorium intybus var. Foliosum ) can be harvested in December on frost-free days.
With the Jerusalem artichoke you can combine harvest and sowing [Photo: djhalcyonic / Shutterstock.com]
Vegetables: mushrooms, butter beet, kale, parsnips, leeks, Brussels sprouts, black salsify, turnip, Jerusalem artichoke, savoy cabbage
Salad: chicory, endive, lamb's lettuce, purslane
In the greenhouse: spinach, celery bulbs
Further work in the kitchen garden in December
Gardening in December is of course not just about sowing and harvesting. In our gardening tips for December, we will tell you what other work is due in December.
Digging up the soil: Anyone who struggles with particularly heavy clay soils in the kitchen garden can use December to dig up their soil before the first frost. During the cold season there is what is known as frost bake, in which water deposits in the earth freeze and the coarse clods of earth virtually burst. In spring, what remains is a fine crumbly soil that is ideal for growing vegetables.
Use raised beds: If you have your own raised bed, you should definitely not leave it empty in December. In fact, raised beds can also be used wonderfully in winter, because their temperature is around 5 ° C higher than in the open air, making them ideal for growing “conditionally” frost-hardy plants such as spinach, sugar loaf or endive.
Propagate Jerusalem artichoke: In December, not only is the harvest time for Jerusalem artichoke ( Helianthus tuberosus ) come, you can also multiply the plant wonderfully in the same step. For this purpose, the largest and most well-formed tubers are sorted out after the harvest and put back into the ground, where they sprout again in spring.
Christmas roses continue to bloom tirelessly in December [Photo: Natalia van D / Shutterstock.com]
The ornamental garden in December
Is everything cold and gray in winter? That is not true – in the ornamental garden there are also some beauties to be found in December, which delight us with their pretty flowers or their impressive leaf color.
What blooms in December
Many associate December with evergreen plants such as firs ( Abies ) or Ilex ( Ilex ), but only rarely with colorful flowers. In fact, there are some beauties that also show their impressive flowers in December. But what is in bloom in December?
One of the classics among the flowering plants in December is, for example, the Christmas rose ( Helleborus niger ), which presents its white or pink flowers from December to March regardless of wind and weather. The snow heather ( Erica x darleyensis) is also one of the most popular winter bloomers, which often causes splashes of color in the garden with its pink flowers as early as December and is ideal as a ground cover.
Even among the shrubs and trees, there are still some plants that bloom in December: winter snowball (Viburnum bodnatense ) and scented snowball ( Viburnum farreri ) already show their striking flowers in winter and the witch hazel ( Hamamelis ) opens its bright yellow, orange or red flowers often as early as December. The winter cherry ( Prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis') also delights with its blossoms. The yellow winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum ) has a particularly bright appearance, with countless yellow flowers in December.
In frost-free weather, robust, evergreen plants can still be planted in the bed [Photo: Radovan1 / Shutterstock.com]
Perennials: Christmas rose, pineapple sage ( Salvia rutilans 'Pineapple Scarlet') and garlic ( Tulbaghia violaceae ) bloom in winter quarters
Ground cover: snow heather, lower Himalayan slimeberry
Climbing plant: winter jasmine
Shrubs and woody plants: Mediterranean snowball, autumn camellia ( Camellia sasanqua ), winter cherry, winter blossom ( Chimonanthus ), witch hazel
Tip: Not only flowers can beautify the garden in December. Colorful fruit decorations such as the ilex ( Ilex ), love pearl bush ( Callicarpa giraldii ) or pseudo-berry ( Gaultheria ) are extremely decorative.
What flowers can you plant in December?
Not only do a few plants bloom in December – if you want to enjoy the colorful blooms next year, you should start sowing new ornamental plants as early as December. Cold germs in particular should definitely be sown in December as they need the low temperatures to overcome their dormancy, i.e. dormancy. The classic cold germs include, for example, high mountain plants such as gentian ( Gentiana ) or peasant peony ( Paeonia officinalis ). The bleeding heart ( Lamprocapnos / Dicentra spectabilis ) and the scented violet ( Viola odorata ) also need the cold stimulus to germinate.
If it does not freeze permanently, December is also ideal for planting new trees: roses with bare roots ( pink ), but also robust native trees and evergreen conifers can still be planted in the bed when the temperature is mild and the soil is frost-free.
So that bushes do not break under the snow load, they are tied together [Photo: photowind / Shutterstock.com]
Perennials: Farmer's Peony, Scented Violets, Monkshood, Gentian, Bleeding Heart
Trees: cherry laurel, privet, roses, holly, wild roses
Further gardening in the ornamental garden in December
So that the ornamental garden can shine in its full splendor also in the coming year, it is particularly important to take good care of it in December. We have therefore summarized further garden tips for December in the ornamental garden for you.
Frost protection: Particularly exotic ornamental plants such as oleander ( Nerium oleander ) and citrus plants do not tolerate frost and should therefore change to their new location for wintering at the beginning of December at the latest – when wintering oranges, temperatures below 5 ° C should be avoided. Less sensitive potted plants can be left outside in December, but it is worth installing frost protection: A jute sack filled with leaves around the pot or styrofoam sheets under the pot keep the cold out and prevent the pot from freezing through.
Don't forget to water: Especially when December is dry and mild, you should use the watering can every now and then and supply flowering and evergreen plants with water. Only when the temperature is below zero does it make sense to give water, as it cannot penetrate deep enough into the frozen ground and, in the worst case, forms an additional layer of ice above ground.
Cutting cuttings: Forsythia ( Forsythia × intermedia ), weigela ( Weigela ) and other flowering shrubs can easily be propagated by cuttings in December. To do this, cut off this year's shoots and divide them into pencil-length pieces, each with a bud or a pair of buds at the top and bottom. Until they are planted in early spring, the cuttings can easily be stored in a shady, sheltered place in loose soil.
Preventing snow breakage: When the first snowflakes fall from the sky in December, this can become a problem for shrubs and woody plants, as they can suddenly weigh up to 20 kg. To prevent branches from breaking under this load, it is worthwhile to preventively tie the branches of sensitive shrubs with a loose, non-cutting band. The snow slides off the upright shoots faster, so the shrub has to bear less weight.
Fruit trees can still be planted in December [Photo: Eag1eEyes / Shutterstock.com]
The orchard in December
The orchard in December is one of the least work-intensive places. No wonder, after all, the fruit harvest is completely over in December. Anyone who has stored pears (Pyrus ) and apples correctly in November can also look forward to fresh fruit from the cellar in December. However, you cannot do without working in the orchard entirely in December:
Frost protection: While older fruit trees almost never have problems with severe frost, the situation is often different with younger specimens: The frosty temperatures in combination with the bright winter sun can lead to so-called frost cracks. The bark of the trees then bursts vertically. To prevent this, it is worthwhile to paint the trees with a light-reflecting, white lime coating on frost-free days. Newly planted vines and kiwis should be protected from the cold in winter with fleece or jute sacks.
Remove fruit mummies: If there are still dried apples hanging on the branches in December, diseases such as Monilia fruit rot are often behind it. To prevent the disease from breaking out again next year, all fruit that has not fallen should be collected from the tree in December and then disposed of.
Refine fruit trees: If you want to refine your cherry, pear or apple tree, you can start cutting in December. The noble branches, i.e. the shoots with which other fruit trees are to be grafted, are best cut off on a frost-free day. They can then be stored slightly moist and dark at temperatures of around 2 ° C until the time of refinement in spring. The same applies to bushy berries such as currants, gooseberries and walnuts: vines can now be cut from these too.
Planting fruit: If December is mild and frost-free, it is still ideal for planting new fruit trees in the ground. So if you are thinking of planting a new apple tree, you should use December again – of course, this also applies to plum, cherry, pear or plum trees. Rhubarb can also be planted in December if the weather is frost-free.
Propagation via root cuttings: Raspberries and blackberries can be propagated in December via root cuttings. The root ball of the plant is carefully exposed and 5 to 7 cm long, fleshy root parts are cut off. The root cuttings are then buried again in another place about 5 cm deep and begin to develop into a new plant in spring.
The lawn in December
Anyone who owns a lot of lawns can look forward to winter: in December the lawn hardly needs any attention and care if it has been well prepared in November. The only task left at the beginning of December is sweeping away the last of the leaves. These should not linger on the lawn, as the grass underneath often dies or even begins to rot. If the lawn is leaf-free, it is best to simply leave it alone. So you can lean back and relax while caring for the lawn in December.
If possible, do not step on frozen lawns [Photo: fotorauschen / Shutterstock.com]
Support garden animals and insects in December
Winter is a particularly difficult time for all garden animals: a lack of food resources and bad weather in December mean that many animals need support to survive the rough season. We have compiled the most important tips for supporting garden animals and insects in December for you here.
Avoid tidying up: Since there is less gardening in December, many gardeners choose to use the free time to clean up and remove piles of wood, piles of brushwood and wild-growing hedges. For garden animals, however, this is a horror: Many have already looked for winter quarters in December and are rudely torn from their hibernation when their hiding place is suddenly torn down – this is an enormous burden, especially for hibernators like hedgehogs, which can even mean death . Compost should also no longer be converted in December, because lizards, toads and insects often seek shelter in the warming pile.
Feeding birds: Birds have a particularly difficult time in winter, as many gardens often lack a selection of bird-friendly plants that serve as a food source in winter. If you want to grab the feathery creatures under their wings, you should set up a bird feeder in December. Filled with a fat and protein-rich litter like our Plantura litter for wild birds, this soon turns out not only as a paradise for birds, but also as an interesting observation point for young and old.
Leave the bird bath: Many people put their bird bath back in the shed in winter – birds like to take advantage of the fresh water in December too. The bird bath not only serves as a place to drink, but also to clean the plumage. This stimulates the heat balance and the production of fatty secretion, which the animals distribute in their plumage to protect them from wind and water when cleaning. For this reason, watering in December helps keep the birds healthy and dry.
Many birds also take a bath in winter [Photo: Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com]
Properly care for indoor plants in December
Colorful indoor plants are the highlight of room decorations, especially at Christmas time. But which plants actually bloom in December and what care do potted plants need in December?
What houseplants bloom in December
Flowering house plants in December are a must for many. Classic Christmas plants in particular are popular with many guests and provide colorful accents: The Christmas cactus ( Schlumbergera ) enchants the house with its striking colorful flowers that appear from November to January. Poinsettia ( Euphorbia pulcherrima ) and amaryllis ( Hippeastrum ) are also classics in the Advent season. A little less known, but just as beautiful, is the Christ thorn ( Euphorbia milii ), which is also counted among the Christmas plants.
Those who prefer something a little less Christmassy, do not have to do without colorful flowers: Indoor cyclamen (Cyclame persicum ), potted azaleas ( Rhododendron simsii ) and flaming catfish ( Kalanchoë blossfeldiana ) are just a selection of winter-flowering indoor plants that come with their The magnificence of flowers is convincing.
The Christmas cactus blooms colorfully in December [Photo: luckakcul / Shutterstock.com]
Another beautiful tradition that brings splendor of flowers into the house is the so-called Barbara branches. On December 4th, the day of St. Barbara, branches are cut from fruit trees, such as cherries or plums, or from early-blooming ornamental trees and then cut at an angle and placed in a vase with water. Due to the warmth in the house, the buds of the branches begin to develop into flowers and, just in time for Christmas, the branch is in full bloom. For this to happen, however, the branch needs a cold stimulus beforehand. If it has not frozen on December 4th, you can also simply put the Barbara twigs in the freezer for 12 hours. Then you can set it up. This is how the Barbara branches succeed even in warmer years.
Barbara branches ensure blooms in winter [Photo: Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock.com]
Flowering houseplants: Begonias ( Begonia ), Cattleya orchids ( Cattleya ), Christ thorn, Flaming Käthchen, pot azalea, African violets ( Saintpaulia ionantha ), Christmas cactus, poinsettia, indoor cyclamen
Plants suitable for Barabara branches: Blood plum ( Prunus cerasifera 'Nigra'), fragrant viburnum (Viburnum farreri ), real jasmine ( Jasminum officinale ), forsythia ( Forsythia ), cherry ( Prunus ), almond trees ( Prunus triloba ), plums ( Prunus domestica) ), Witch hazel
Further work on houseplants in December
Indoor plants also need regular care so that they stay healthy in the long term. You should not neglect your indoor plants, especially in winter. The following work must also be done on indoor plants in December.
Pest control: Dry heating air ensures that indoor plants are particularly likely to be infested by spider mites in December. You should therefore regularly examine the leaves of your plants for the typical damage pattern with fine white speckles on the leaf surface. In the event of an infestation, you should then immediately take countermeasures, for example with our Plantura pest-free neem, to prevent the pest from spreading.
Adjust care: In winter, not only are garden plants dormant, potted plants also take a break. Plants that overwinter indoors at low temperatures, in particular, hardly need any nutrients in this phase and should therefore no longer be fertilized. The pouring intervals can also be increased slowly. But even indoor plants can often be damaged with fertilization in winter, so that you only have to pay attention to an adequate water supply.
Together with December, the Christmas festival and with it the purchase of a Christmas tree are just around the corner. In our article we will tell you whether a traditionally felled Christmas tree makes more sense or whether you should opt for the variant in a pot: A Christmas tree in a pot: A sensible alternative ?.
And what work to do after the holidays can be found in our article on gardening in January.